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tv   Matter of Fact With Soledad O Brien  KOFY  March 26, 2017 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT

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jessica: today on "matter of fact" -- he was a self-proclaimed white supremacist from a stable home. >> we had all the stuff that we wanted. jessica: who committed a horrific act >> i carry the deepest shame about the bashing of a gay man jessica: find out what it took to pull him out of the extremist movement. plus, a marine on a street corner hoping people will stop to ask him a question. >> people talk to me about jessica: what's his real reason for wanting to start a conversation? but first, has hate become a leading cause of crime in america? welcome to "matter of fact." i'm
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jessica gomez, in for soledad o'brien. today, a look hate in america. one disturbing report indicates hate crimes are on the rise in some of the nation's largest urban areas. so why the increase? who are the perpetrators and who are the victims? the center for the study of hate and extremism reports that in 2016, hate crimes were up 14.4 percent in 13 jurisdictions where they were able to collect hate crime data. criminologist, former nypd officer and director of the center, brian levin joins us to talk more about this report. professor levin, thanks for joining us. thanks for having me today jessica: you have been tracking hate crimes since late 80s. tell us how you define a hate crime.
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a hate crime is a criminal offense motivated in whole or significant part because of the actual or perceived group characteristics of another such race, religion, sexual orienation or gender. jessica: you get your numbers from local law enforcement agencies but really it's difficult to track hate crimes, isn't it? >> it's very difficult because a lot of victims don't report, and different agencies have different efficiencies and training with regard to identifying and investigating hate crime. jessica: so let's a take a look at some of the numbers in this report. you say there has been a big spike in chicago, for example, 20 percent new york city 24 percent and philadelphia, 50 percent. these are big increases they are. and l.a.5 percent seattle 6 percent. out of the 13 cities and counties, we looked at, we also looked at one state that includes some of those, we found 9 increased and a significant
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number of those were hitting multiyear highs and 4 went down. hate crime is in many ways a local manifestation. while there are national trends, locales vary in what increases and decreases and which groups are getting targeted the most. jessica: you attribute this spike to hate crimes to social instability and what you call the normalization of incivility. what does that mean? >> what i think is, because there is so much emotion going on with respect to what is going on in the socio-political atmosphere coupled with some unfortunate terrorist attacks, and then in some groups, an elevated level of prejudice, we see this manifest itself. but what is interesting is, in 2015, we saw a big increase in
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anti-muslim hate crimes, but we did not see a big increase nationally in anti-latino hate crimes, although we did see that in california, but some of that was related to turf battles between groups of color in major metropolitan areas. jessica: so who are the victims, generallspeaking, and who are the perpetrators? >> anti-semitic hate crimes are over 50 percent of all religious based hate crimes and african american who compromise of about 13 percent of the population are about 30 percent of the victims and incidentally they are also slightly more represented as perpetrators. anti-white hate crimes, though a much smaller proportion than what they are in the population, have also experienced some increases in recent times. jessica: you do mention that when we think of hate crimes, we think of just minorities not necessarily the case
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>> on no. we're seeing a democratization of hate. we have seen attacks that are politically motivated and some that go against trump supporters. we have seen on the hard left, the coalescence of a very small fringe groups that believes violence is the way to solve their political disputes and we have also seen the hard alt right get empowered and emboldened. jessica: professor brian levin this is interesting. we will keep our eyes on this. thanks for joining us. >> thank you so much and we will see what happens when all the data comes in. jessica: coming up, his father died in a mass shooting at a sikh temple. why he says more hate won't help. and later, why are so many young people drawn to extremist groups? >> i got a greater sense of power and thirll and intoxication. jessica: hear a former skin head recrdescter be his initiation into the movement. plus, a marine on a cross
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country quest. why he thinks he can change america one conversation at a time?
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jessica: one community in america knows the devastation of hate crimes and is now on high alert. according to the national sikh coalition, sikhs are hundreds of times more likely to be victims of hate crimes than their fellow americans, mostly because of their customary turbans and long beards. in early march, a sikh man in kent, washington was shot in his driveway after being told to quote, go back to your country". the fbi is investigating the case as a hate crime. just outside of milwaukee, wisconsin, the sikh community is also worried. four and a half years ago a white supremacist and army veteran came to the sikh temple of wisconsin and opened fire, killing 6 members of the congregation. today, the sikh community fears it could happen again. inside the sikh temple of
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wisconsin bullet holes mark the gunman's path. reminders of that terrible day. >> i never want to see that day again. jessica: the day 6 people here preparing for a service lost their lives at the hands of a former us army veteran with ties to white supremacist groups. shattering the peace, the sikhs say, is at the heart of their culture. >> every sikh temple in the world has 4 doors, that represent anyone in the world can come from every direction, we love everyone, we welcome everyone. jessica: but now, those doors are locked, and there's security. >> the environment at the temple is --they're scared people are scared. just the national rhetoric that's happening. jessica: pardeep kaleka and his
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kids were on their way to the temple that day but were late. his father, already there, was shot 5 times, and didn't make it. two of kaleka's 4 children never got to meet their grandfather. >> in a weird kind of way, this really put sikhism on the map, especially in the united states. jessica: and there was support -- from all over wisconsin -- and around the nation. is that support something you feel today? >> that's a tough question. tough. i don't know. i don't know if i even still feel the support is there. jessica: sikhs, often mistaken for muslims, blame the anti muslim and immigrant rhetoric coming from the white house. >> you're inciting this fear, you are creating this and then you walk back and say i didn't know that was going to happen. jessica: nirl sih volunteers here, teaching kids born here, about the sikh language and
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culture. she says after the election even the littlest are becoming victims of hate. >> my kids went to school and they were saying oh you are gonna have to go back home now. jessica: and, just a few weeks ago, while at a wisconsin walmart, singh says two young women called her and her kids, terrorists -- not once, but twice. >> when you heart that word, i understand people who get called that name and how they feel and what they go through. it is not something that you forget. jessica: gulal singh, who before the shooting, was clean shaven and came to temple here and there, has recommitted his life to sikhism. even teaching others about it. the avid green bay packer fan wishes people could see he's not too different from his wisconsin neighbors. even though now, he refuses to take off his turban. >> in my case it's like no, wear the turban, go in front of the people and tell them who you are because you are not doing anything wrong.
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we are just normal people. jessica: it's frustrating for temple president and business man balhair dulai bel who has lived in the u.s. for 40 years. his son works for the f.b.i. >> and yet, i am still being looked at like i just came off the boat yesterday. that's a shame. these people have to wake up and learn. jessica: after his father's death, kaleka, a mental health counselor, started an organization that helps kids deal with trauma and promotes more inclusive communities. but he says education is not enough. >> it can't stop at understanding, that there needs to be action that takes place." jessica: an assignment kaleeka is taking to heart -- he says for the sake of the next generation. >> as a father, i think we take on this unwritten promise to
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create a world better for our kids than we inherited. jessica: jnext on "matter of fact" -- a conversation you'll never forget. when you look back and you think about what attracted you to white supremacy -- what was it? and later, vets struggling with ptsd, and the stigma they face. >> i do not believe there is an assocation with violence jessica: one of the nation's top docs offers a plan for treating the fear. jessica: welcome back to "matter
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of fact." i'm jessica gomez for soledad o'brien. he was a self-proclaimed white supremacist. >> 'black people are inferior' jessica: a member of the aryan resistance movement, tony macaleer was a skinhead recruiter. he attended cross burnings and participated in violent attacks against minority groups. but today, he's helping people
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extricate themselves from the same extremist life he once lived. tony mcaleer is the executivedie or of 'life after hate.' thanks for being here. joining us and talking about this time in your life >> thank you for having me jessica: your father was a psychiatrist, you came from an upper middle class background. but you started with the skin head movement and it was really through music. but not so political at first >> not at the beginning. no. but as it arted to get political i seized upon that. every chance i got was to go a little more extreme. and once i got into it, i wasn't following it, i was driving it. jessica:y ou started organizing, you started recruiting for some very extreme groups. >> when i got involved with the skinheads, my bullying survival strategy was to befriend the bully, become the bully. i sought solace in the eye of hurricane -- that's where the safety was for me. and in order to have that safety
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and protection i needed their respect and in order to have their respect i had to commit all the same violence they did. for someone where violence was new, i am going to be honest, i liked it. every step deeper i got greater sense of power and thrill and intoxication. jessica: what do you regret most? >> if i think back to the event i carry the deepest shame about it was the bashing of a gay man. we were about 17 we were drinking beer in the park where gay men would go. we chased him into a construction site. he ran into the construction site and ran into this crawlspace about that high into the darkness. we picked up stones, like skipping stones at a lake, and threw them into darkness and every second or so would hear a yell of pain from man hiding in the dark.
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i look back and think what would it have been like to be that man ? he didn't do anything wrong, he didn't deserve any of it. jessica: there w a turning point for you. what was it? >> the birth of my daughter. i found myself in delivery room holding a baby girl with a scrunchy face and she opens her eyes for the first time and i connected with another human being for the first time since i can remember. in order to be in the movement and commit that violence, i was disconnected from my heart. it started a process where my heart thawed and began to open up and i rediscovered my own humanity. jessica: you say extremist
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groups of all kinds, not just white supremacist, for them often ideology is not even the driving force, it is more about acceptance. >> regardless of the ideology, research shows that the number one correlated factor in the history of someone joining an extremist group is childhood trauma. jessica: when you talk to victims groups, people who have been victims of the same kind of violence you were a part of, what do you say to them? >> i think i share with them my sense of deep shame about the things that i did and if i did not do it to them personally, i did to their community. jessica: tony mcaleer from life afr hate. thank you, painful time in your life, we appreciate it. coming up next, the new va secretary reports on efforts to identify veterans with ptsd. >> currently the va screens every vet every year for this disorder.
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jessica: how will we pay for the tests they need? and, still ahead. this marine's got a blog. a go fund me page. and a card board sign that invites conversation. >> some of the questions people ask me are about sharia law. jessica: what's the point he's trying to make?
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jessica: now, the part of our show we call "we'reayg attentio if n evenu're too busy to." president trump's "skinny" budget proposal is being deconstructed by congress and the public. it makes drastic cuts to several government agencies. one winner in the budget? the department of veterans affairs, which could get an additional 4.4 billion dollars. part of that would cover programs helping veterans transition from military to civilian life. especially those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder-- a priority for the new va secretary, david shulkin.
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he discussed the issue of stigma and ptsd with soledad o'brien in a recent interview. soledad: vets with ptsd seem to me at least as portrayed in the media are a danger. a danger to themselves, a danger to their community, do you think they are a danger? >> no, i don't think they are a danger. i think these are people that are experiencing symptoms and like any other condition that is not contagious, this is something that requires help and assistance and i think that's the way we should look at it. i do not believe there is an association between violence or other activity that would endanger people with ptsd. soledad: how combat that stereotype? i think it has almost become a cliche having spent a lot of time in tv news. i think fair to say, that is probably primary way in which we see vets. how do you combat that stereotype?
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>> i think it is a matter of talking about it, getting people to understand what is going on, education, making sure people are sensitive to the condition. when you see someone in an airport or a crowded area and see they are looking around or concerned about people getting too close to them and people need to think about. just like people need to be sensitive to people's feelings about any other situation. soledad: thank you, secretary shulkin. jessica: he's done it on the streets of houston. and the streets is pnning a visit to a corner near you. jessica: if you ever find
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yourself wondering, can one person make a difference in our political world?
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here's a story that answers the question in the affirmative. a maryland man is on a mission. he's traveling the country -- standing on street corners with a sign that says "i'm a muslim, and a u.s. marine. ask me anything." his goal is to educate people about islam, and counter their fears through dialogue and conversation. a cause he's funding, in part through a go fund me site, and partly with his own money. >> there's a lot of stereotypes out there these days that a guy who looks like myself, perhaps brown skin, a beard, may be assumed to be a terrorist or a bad guy. what i want to do is destroy those myths and i want people to know that not only can a man be a proud muslim, but a proud american and a united states marine. jessica: so far sham and his family have made their way to texas, colorado, washington, and new york. they hope to to get to all 50 states with their message. so, if you see him, say hello.
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i'm jessica gomez. thanks for joining us for "matter of fact." have a great week. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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